China forced to change strategy amid CPEC delay

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CPEC, most important components of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) initiative, has faced opposition from various political parties in Pakistan….reports Asian Lite News

Amid the severe delay in implementation of China Pakistan Economic Corridor projects (CPEC) projects, Beijing is now looking to expand its cooperation in Pakistan beyond federal and state governments and trying to engage with other political parties in the country.

CPEC, which is regarded as one of the most important components of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) initiative, has faced opposition from various political parties in Pakistan.

According to geopolitical experts, this delay has prompted the Communist Party of China (CCP) to initiate party-to-party engagements with the political class rather than relying solely on the governments of the day to push forward CPEC projects.

Beijing has expressed the desire for greater engagement with political parties in Islamabad to address issues related to the development of the CPEC.

Speaking at a webinar titled “People-Centred: Celebrating 100 Years of Communist Party of China”, the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong said CPC is ready to work with Pakistan’s political parties to actively promote the coordination between CPEC and Naya Pakistan Vision.

“The Communist Party of China (CPC) attaches great importance to exchanges and cooperation with Pakistani political parties, and will give full play to the advantages of inter-party relations to reach the consensus among parties and make the contribution of party-to-party exchanges to build a closer China-Pakistan Community of Shared Future in the new era,” said Ambassador Rong, as quoted by Dawn.

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The ambassador also expressed the party’s wish to strengthen exchanges of ideas, policies and peoples, to create a “good political and public environment” for the high-quality development of the CPEC.

According to the Pakistani newspaper, the Chinese envoy’s statement indicated Beijing’s interest in enhancing cooperation with Pakistani political parties to address issues related to CPEC and build a more conducive environment for its further development.

The Chinese ambassador also spoke about the CPC’s objective to enhance engagement with political parties is to promote China-Pakistan ties. “We are willing to support each other with Pakistani political parties on issues concerning the core interests and major concerns of our two countries, and support Pakistan’s political parties to devote themselves to developing Pakistan and consolidating the political foundation for China-Pakistan cooperation,” he said.

This comes as Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan-led PTI government last month passed the bill for the establishment of the CPEC Authority despite strong opposition from members of Parliament, The Express Tribune reported.

According to experts, the bill contains sweeping powers and legal immunity to plan, execute and expedite projects being undertaken under the CPEC.

Apparently, China has forced CPEC Authority on Pakistan because it wanted the army to be directly involved in the CPEC portfolio as Beijing was reportedly irked with Khan’s slow movement on the project.

This bill comes at a time when the hype created by the government through projecting the CPEC as a panacea for all problems is rapidly losing steam. Struggling local businessmen lament that Chinese investors are cornering key domestic industries, state assets and businesses to the detriment of Pakistani players and interests. (ANI)

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